Internal Punishment Programs
posted on 9/2004 By:
Norway’s Red Harvest have returned with another platter of molten industrial metal to follow up 2002’s Sick Transit Gloria Mundi. Veterans of a rather crowded niche, Red Harvest have lasted by mutating their sound, and, more recently, by much improved production. During that time the band has also shed most of its black metal stylings and also slowed things down a bit. Internal Punishment Programs is a very solid release that does a good job mixing industrial and metal, a balance that many bands struggle to master. A lot of bands play one style and integrate elements from the other, and end up sounding like a remix rather than an original band. Red Harvest separate themselves from these acts by weaving organic metal fury with technology.
I like my industrial metal to be fast, heavy, and noisy as hell. I like nearly every square inch of the album to be filled with a thick mixture of instruments and programming. In short, I want it to sound like a post apocalyptic riot. Honestly, the first few spins of Internal Punishment Programs didn’t do much for me. A few of the songs really stuck out as chaotic and noisy, while much of the album seemed a bit slow and drab. Still, I never lost interest, and kept returning to the album to decide whether or not this was for me. Eventually, my patience was rewarded.
The riffs are fairly standard for the genre--heavy and repetitive, and usually with a good balance of hook and power. The vocals are varied—often a raspy shout similar to Fear Factory vox, but are occasionally nearly spoken or heavily effected. Its definitely not a unique style, but far preferable to the monotonous droning of bands like Rammstein and Deathstars. “Anatomy of the Unknown” is the opener and among the stronger tracks on the album. The intro and chorus are pummeling attacks of metal, while the verse utilizes a moaning spoken vocal and undulating keyboard. “Mekanizm”, “Wormz”, and “Teknocrate” are other satisfying heavy tracks. The percussion is a combination of machine and live drumming, and is most effective on songs with faster, more full patterns. It also often includes an underlying ticking, like a stop watch on crank, that adds to the industrial hammering. The band steps up the electronica on a couple of tracks, with varying results. The Atari Teenage Riot-sounding “Synthesize my DNA” is deeply layered and driven by a rambunctious techno style beat, and uses a skittering guitar sample. Conversely, the vocals on the track are especially venomous. This reeks of a hate it or love it song, and it really works for me. However, “Abstract Morality Junction” doesn’t fare as well. The track is slower and driven by a keyboard line very similar to Nine Inch Nails’ “That’s What I Get.” The vocal line is spoken/barely sung, and, in an apparent nod to Stephen King’s “It”, contains the oft repeated lyric “We all float down here.” Still, most songs come off well and the variety between songs is welcome.
You won’t hear anything new on this album—it's all been done before. There are also a handful of other bands that are doing more to push the envelope of this genre. However, Red Harvest is able to more competently incorporate electronic and metal music than many other bands you’ll hear. It took awhile to get its hooks in me, but Internal Punishment Programs is worth the time.
Register to post comments.